The world has been patiently waiting for the return of one of indie rock’s most beloved and treasured bands. Today, Alvvays are pleased to be putting everyone out of their misery, announcing the new album Blue Rev which will be released via Polyvinyl on October 7th.
At least the five-year wait was worthwhile: Blue Rev doesn’t simply reassert what’s always been great about Alvvays but instead reimagines it. They have, in part and sum, never been better. There are 14 songs on Blue Rev, making it not only the longest Alvvays album but also the most harmonically rich and lyrically provocative.
Alvvays are also releasing new song “Pharmacist,” the first song on the album and an exciting jumping off point for what is sure to be one of the albums of the year. Last month they teased their return by announcing their 2022 fall tour. The tour will start in Chicago this October and hit all major US markets. They are also scheduled to play Courtney Barnett’s ‘Here and There Festival’ in August. All dates are listed below.
More on Blue Rev…
Alvvays never intended to take five years to finish their third album, the nervy joyride that is the compulsively lovable Blue Rev. In fact, the band began writing and cutting its first bits soon after releasing 2017’s Antisocialites, that stunning sophomore record that confirmed the Toronto quintet’s status atop a new generation of winning and whip-smart indie rock.
Global lockdowns notwithstanding, circumstances both ordinary and entirely unpredictable stunted those sessions. Alvvays toured more than expected, a surefire interruption for a band that doesn’t write on the road. A watchful thief then broke into singer Molly Rankin’s apartment and swiped a recorder full of demos, one day before a basement flood nearly ruined all the band’s gear. They subsequently lost a rhythm section and, due to border closures, couldn’t rehearse for months with their masterful new one, drummer Sheridan Riley and bassist Abbey Blackwell.
The songs of Blue Rev thrive on immediacy and intricacy, so good on first listen that the subsequent spins where you hear all the details are an inevitability. This perfectly dovetailed sound stems from an unorthodox—and, for Alvvays, wholly surprising—recording process, unlike anything they’ve ever done. Alvvays are fans of fastidious demos, making maps of new tunes so complete they might as well have topographical contour lines.
But in October 2021, when they arrived at a Los Angeles studio with fellow Canadian Shawn Everett, he urged them to forget the careful planning they’d done and just play the stuff, straight to tape. On the second day, they ripped through Blue Rev front-to-back twice, pausing only 15 seconds between songs and only 30 minutes between full album takes. And then, as Everett has done on recent albums by The War on Drugs and Kacey Musgraves, he spent an obsessive amount of time alongside Alvvays filling in the cracks, roughing up the surfaces, and mixing the
Every element of Alvvays leveled up in the long interim between albums: Riley is a classic dynamo of a drummer, with the power of a rock deity and the finesse of a jazz pedigree. Their roommate, in-demand bassist Blackwell, finds the center of a song and entrenches it. Keyboardist Kerri MacLellan joined Rankin and guitarist Alec O’Hanley to write more this time, reinforcing the band’s collective quest to break patterns heard on their first two albums.
Alvvays’ self-titled debut, released when much of the band was still in its early 20s, offered speculation about a distant future—marriage, professionalism, interplanetary citizenship. Antisocialites wrestled with the woes of the now, especially the anxieties of inching toward adulthood. Named for the sugary alcoholic beverage Rankin and MacLellan used to drink as teens on rural Cape Breton, Blue Rev looks both back at that country past and forward at an uncertain world, reckoning with what we lose whenever we make a choice about what we want to become.
Sure, it arrives a few years later than expected, but the answer for Alvvays is actually simple: They’ve changed gradually, growing on Blue Rev into one of their generation’s most complete and riveting rock bands.
2022 Tour Dates:
08/16 – Chicago, IL @ Here and There Festival – The Salt Shed
10/14 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre $
10/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave. $
10/18 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot $
10/19 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory $
10/20 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom $
10/21 – Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theatre $
10/22 – Seattle, WA @ The Moore Theatre $
10/24 – Arcata, CA @ Arcata Theatre Lounge $
10/26 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore $
10/27 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore $
10/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern $
10/30 – San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park $
11/02 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater $
11/04 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall – Downstairs $
11/05 – Dallas, TX @ The Studio at The Factory $
11/07 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse $
11/08 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works $
11/09 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel $
11/11 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club $
11/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Franklin Music Hall $
11/15 – New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall $
11/16 – New York, NY @ Kings Theater $
11/18 – Boston, MA @ Roadrunner $
$ w/ Slow Pulp